PTSD in First Responders

By Jillian Hoff

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder is extremely common among first responders. This is because of their high exposure rate to traumatic incidents. Some of the common signs and symptoms for PTSD include flashbacks or dreams about the incident, losing interest in activities, refusing to talk about the event and sleep disturbances. Most first responders do tend to avoid seeking treatment for their PTSD. This typically is because of the stigma that surrounds mental health in general. These individuals might feel as though people will see them as weak for seeking the help they need, which is not the case. Often times when the individual does not treat their PTSD it will worsen, which since first responders do not get to just stop working makes their symptoms even worse.

Some ways that first responders can help their PTSD would be to have a support system. This especially could be the people who were also there during the traumatic event, this way they can talk about what happened and how it made them feel with an individual who was also there.  To gain positive coping strategies, it could be extremely helpful to engage in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. This could help the person manage some of their stress that relates to the incident. Most importantly, the person needs to remember why they love being a first responder and all the positives that come from their job. While the negative times within this profession can be hard to handle, it is important to remember all the good that comes from what first responders do.

If you or someone you know is suffering from PTSD, please contact our psychotherapy offices in New York or New Jersey to talk to one of our licensed professional psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, or psychotherapists at Arista Counseling & Psychotherapy. Contact our Paramus, NJ or Manhattan, NY offices respectively, at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920 to set up an appointment. For more information, please visit http://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com/

Sources

https://eraseptsdnow.org/first-responder/shining-a-light-on-ptsd-among-first-responders

https://www.suicideinfo.ca/resource/first-responders-trauma-intervention-suicide-prevention/

https://www.jems.com/administration-and-leadership/first-responders-and-ptsd-a-literature-review/

Eating Disorders Part 2: Black Women with Eating Disorders

By: Abby Erasmus

Black women in America have a unique experience; their intersecting identities make them one of the most discriminated- against groups in America, resulting in mental health issues. Eating disorders (ED), for example, are not new within the Black community. Black women live with EDs at similar rates to all ethnic and demographic groups- but often times in the shadows. The majority of ED studies focus on white women. This ignores the fact that ED causes and manifestation can be different in other populations. Further, the most commonly researched ED is Anorexia Nervosa (AN), yet AN is not the typical ED experience of Black women. Binge Eating Disorder (BED) and Bulimia nervosa (BN) are the most common EDs among Black women, with Black girls being 50 times more likely to engage in BN behaviors than white girls. Because BED and BN aren’t frequently researched, they’re harder to correctly diagnose in patients; it is thus highly unlikely Black women will be diagnosed with an ED at all. To increase the likelihood that Black women will be correctly diagnosed and receive treatment, it is important to know the key symptoms of BED and BN. Listed here are some key symptoms:

BED: Recurrent, persistent episodes of binge eating & absence of compensatory behaviors like purging. The binge eating episodes are associated with 3 or more of the following: eating more rapidly than normal, eating until uncomfortably full, eating large amounts when not physically hungry, eating alone due to embarrassment of how much one is eating, feeling disgusted with oneself, depressed, or guilty after overeating.

BN: Recurrent episodes of binging that are characterized by eating an amount of food within a 2- hour period that is definitively larger than what most people eat in that time period, accompanied by feeling unable to stop eating/ control the amount one is eating & recurrent compensatory behaviors like: self- induced vomiting, misuse of laxatives, excessive exercise, and more.

Additionally, stigma exists in the Black community in regard to receiving help due to complex stereotypes, histories, etc., and stigma in regard to EDs is dramatized as they are labeled a white woman’s problem. Once we call attention to ED prevalence and manifestation in the community, stigma will be reduced both within and outside of the community. This will then increase the likelihood that Black woman will receive an accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment for their ED. Further, when providers are made aware of the daily micro and macro aggressions that can result in poor mental health and potentially maladaptive coping mechanisms like an ED, providers will be prepared to address such issues during sessions. The nuanced narrative of EDs within the Black community must be disseminated.

If you or someone you know is seeking therapy for an eating disorder,  please contact our psychotherapy offices in New York or New Jersey to talk to one of our licensed professional psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, or psychotherapists at Arista Counseling & Psychotherapy. Contact our Paramus, NJ or Manhattan, NY offices respectively, at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920 to set up an appointment. For more information, please visit http://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com/

Sources:

https://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/blog/new-dsm-5-binge-eating-disorder

https://www.centralcoasttreatmentcenter.com/blog-1/invisibility-of-eating-disorders-in-the-black-community-its-more-than-the-eating-disorder-stereotype

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK519712/table/ch3.t16/

Beyond “Eating Disorders Don’t Discriminate”

Relationships; How to Recognize a Toxic Relationship

Relationships; How to Recognize a Toxic Relationship

By: Priya Desai

A toxic relationship can be hard to identify, especially when you are in the relationship. There are many instances where the people closest to you will notice first that the relationship you are in is not good for you. Here are signs of a toxic relationship that can help you identify if you are in one.

Signs of a toxic relationship:

  • Lack of trust

When you are in a relationship, both partners should have trust in each other. Trust varies from being loyal to your partner to trusting that they have the best interest in their mind when they are thinking about the relationship. Trust is the foundation of a relationship and without it, it can’t work.

  • Hostile communication

Hostile communication includes verbal abuse and physical abuse. This can be name calling, yelling, constant interruption, or throwing and breaking things.

  • Controlling behaviors

Your partner has no right to control your actions or beliefs. This can include telling you what’s right, secluding you from your closest friends/family, and requiring access to your personal social media accounts and phone.

  • All take, no give

If you feel as if your partner is not doing anything for you, but you are consistently taking orders from him/her, this is another big red flag. This includes always being the first one to text and always being the one to make plans to hang out with your partner. The feelings should be reciprocated all the time.

If you or someone you know is in a toxic relationship, please contact our psychotherapy offices in New York or New Jersey to talk to one of our licensed professional psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, or psychotherapists at Arista Counseling & Psychotherapy. Contact our Paramus, NJ or Manhattan, NY offices respectively, at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920 to set up an appointment. For more information, please visit http://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com/

Citation: https://www.insider.com/toxic-relationship

https://www.healthline.com/health/toxic-relationship

Image Citation : https://www.google.com/search?q=toxic+relationship&sxsrf=AOaemvK-hHlQGKKmgsC6m_XxK_UptZleNA:1631133605274&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&sqi=2&ved=2ahUKEwjX3_2YnvDyAhUaQfEDHao0DBMQ_AUoAXoECAEQAw&biw=794&bih=639#imgrc=TKmtKNeDMzkEOM

Eating Disorders Part 1: More than Just One Narrative

Eating Disorders Part 1: More than Just One Narrative

By: Abby Erasmus

Eating disorders don’t discriminate; about 1 in 7 male individuals and 1 in 5 female individuals experience an eating disorder by age 40. Girls as young as 8 or 9 are walking into the doctor’s office with cases of anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and other types of eating disorders. Individuals regardless of race, class, gender, religion, and sexual orientation can suffer from an eating disorder (ED). EDs are an extremely serious matter; they have the highest mortality rate of all mental illnesses. Keeping all of this information in mind, it is extremely important to understand and acknowledge that EDs affect all demographic groups and can manifest differently within these groups. Different demographics have complex histories with different cultural backgrounds that can affect how one displays an ED, and why a group develops one. Because people are unaware that different demographic groups experience EDs, stigma often surrounds their diagnosis by both people within their community as well as outside the community. Knowing that EDs have the highest mortality rate, it is our responsibility to reduce the stigma by disseminating information about how EDs affect a wide variety of populations.

The typical narrative of an ED tells the struggle of a white, straight, cis- gender woman. This population does experience EDs, and it’s extremely important to provide them with appropriate help and support; however, this typical narrative leaves out the experience of many other groups of people with EDs and why different demographics might development them. In reality, the rates of EDs are about the same across demographic groups in the United States, but because one narrative is told, other groups are significantly less likely to receive treatment. In a series of blog posts, I will discuss how EDs affect different populations: Black women, the LGBTQ community, Asian American women, Latina Women, and men in general.

If you or someone you know is seeking therapy for an eating disorder, please contact our psychotherapy offices in New York or New Jersey to talk to one of our licensed professional psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, or psychotherapists at Arista Counseling & Psychotherapy. Contact our Paramus, NJ or Manhattan, NY offices respectively, at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920 to set up an appointment. For more information, please visit http://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com/

Sources:

https://www.state.sc.us/dmh/anorexia/statistics.htm

https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamanetworkopen/article-abstract/2752577

https://www.webmd.com/mental-health/eating-disorders/anorexia-nervosa/features/changing-face-anorexia

https://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/people-color-and-eating-disorders#:~:text=Eating%20disorders%20have%20historically%20been,help%20for%20their%20eating%20issues.

Social Anxiety; Going Back to Normalcy After the Pandemic 

By Jillian Hoff

As everyone starts to go back to their lives before the pandemic it is important to recognize that some individuals will feel uncomfortable after being in quarantine for so long. Some people will most likely feel some amount of social anxiety when going back out. It is important to recognize that most people are going to feel anxious when returning back to normalcy. Most people will just feel these emotions a different degree. Social anxiety is more than just feeling nervous. It could occur when a person feels as though they are being judged or being put down by the people around them when that isn’t the case. This will be normal as people go back to socializing in any type of setting. One major issue society might have would be to relearn social behaviors. Some things that we previously would not have thought about doing became common actions for us during the pandemic. Things like making facial expressions under our masks or talking during a meeting because that is what we got used to doing, is not going to be acceptable behavior when one’s in person.

It is important not to rush into socializing in person. Start by having in-person meetings or work once or twice a week and slowly add more days after you are comfortable. If you have an event that you need to go to, try planning a solution in advance that will make you most comfortable to be there. You can also practice mindfulness and deep breathing exercises as a way to gain some control over your anxiety. However, what is most important is to realize that everyone is getting back to normalcy and that others will feel the same way as you do.

If you or someone you know is seeking therapy for social anxiety, please contact our psychotherapy offices in New York or New Jersey to talk to one of our licensed professional psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, or psychotherapists at Arista Counseling & Psychotherapy. Contact our Paramus, NJ or Manhattan, NY offices respectively, at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920 to set up an appointment. For more information, please visit http://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com/

Sources:

https://www.mprnews.org/story/2021/06/21/the-19th-explains-how-to-manage-postpandemic-social-anxiety

https://www.cedars-sinai.org/newsroom/managing-post-pandemic-social-anxiety/

https://tulsaworld.com/opinion/columnists/cartoon-post-pandemic-anxiety/article_453797b8-8804-11eb-a763-3371541a6ae8.html

Borderline Personality Disorder and Bipolar Disorder; Distinguishing Between the Two

Borderline Personality Disorder and Bipolar Disorder; Distinguishing Between the Two

By: Stacey Rodriguez

Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) and Bipolar Disorder (BD) have many overlapping symptoms, causing them to manifest similarly. BPD is characterized by a pattern of unstable emotion, behavior and self-image. Similarly, BD is marked by unusual and extreme shifts in energy and mood.

Mood swings in the context of BPD are more frequent, shorter lived, and triggered by situational factors; they are largely a product of a distorted perception of reality fueled by dysfunctional core beliefs. Contrastingly, manic and depressive episodes experienced by those with BD are not directly induced by external stimuli, but rather a result of chemical imbalances. These episodes last for a minimum of 7 days and can be intersected by symptom free periods. While impulsivity is a key marker in both, it is important to note that in bipolar disorder it occurs most frequently during periods of mania, whereas it is unrelated to mania in BPD.

A common correlation between the two disorders is family history. Though, history of trauma seems to be a distinguishing factor as it is most particular to BPD, whereas genetics seem to play a larger part in BP.

Though BPD and BD are distinctly separate, in some cases, they can co-occur. While being informed on the nature of these two disorders is beneficial, it is essential for an individual to seek help from a mental health specialist if either seem to be present.

If you or someone you know is seeking therapy for Bipolar Disorder or Borderline Personality Disorder, please contact our psychotherapy offices in New York or New Jersey to talk to one of our licensed professional psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, or psychotherapists at Arista Counseling & Psychotherapy. Contact our Paramus, NJ or Manhattan, NY offices respectively, at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920 to set up an appointment. For more information, please visit http://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com/

Sources: https://www.nami.org/Blogs/NAMI-Blog/June-2017/Borderline-Personality-Disorder-and-Bipolar-Disord

https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/324375#diagnosis

Image Source: https://ibpf.org/how-to-know-if-you-have-bipolar-disorder-adhd-or-borderline-personality-disorder/

Eating Disorders; How Stress Impacts Eating Disorders

By: Jillian Hoff

Stressful situations often can cause individuals to lean on food to cope. When someone has an eating disorder any stressful situation could possibly be one of the triggers for them. It is known that these individuals tend to have an increased desire to binge eat or restrict their diet so that they can feel more in control. This sense of stability to them is a means of a stress reliever. While stress in itself is not healthy for a person, the result of an eating disorder also tends to create problems for a person’s health. Eating disorders can often cause the individual to have a constant worry about their weight and the food that they are eating. At times this constant worry could lead to anxiety, low self-esteem and even depression. It is important especially for individuals who suffer from an eating disorder to find other ways to cope with stress so that they can try to decrease the chance of either binging or restricting food.

Some ways they can cope would to be to have some type of social support system. This would be someone that the individual can talk to at any time whether it is for emotional or financial help. The individual can also choose to focus on calming strategies like meditation or breathing exercises.  Writing down positive messages to yourself would also be a good coping mechanism especially due to the negative thoughts that they might feel due to their eating disorder. Some lifestyle changes could also help. This would include practicing time-management skills so that one does not feel overwhelmed. Also, by trying something new each day it could be used as a way to get your mind off any stressors in your life.

If you or someone you know is seeking therapy for an eating disorder, please contact our psychotherapy offices in New York or New Jersey to talk to one of our licensed professional psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, or psychotherapists at Arista Counseling & Psychotherapy. Contact our Paramus, NJ or Manhattan, NY offices respectively, at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920 to set up an appointment. For more information, please visit http://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com/

Sources:

https://www.mirasol.net/learning-center/chronic-stress.php

https://www.webmd.com/mental-health/eating-disorders/binge-eating-disorder/stress-binge-eating-disorder

Burnout Syndrome: Causes, Symptoms & Strategies

Burnout Syndrome: Causes, Symptoms & Strategies

By: Stacey Rodriguez

The term “burnout” has been a popular buzzword for the past several decades. In 2019, Burnout became officially been recognized as a syndrome by the World Health Organization (WHO). It is defined as a reaction to chronic occupational stress, however, lifestyle and personality traits often play a role in exacerbating this stress.

 Causes often include:

-Working in a high pressure environment

-Work is mundane or unchallenging

-Lack of recognition/reward

-Not spending enough downtime socializing or relaxing

-Perfectionist tendencies 

The syndrome is characterized by three dimensions: exhaustion, reduced professional efficiency, and cynicism (pessimistic views). These symptoms can manifest physically, emotionally, and behaviorally.

Common symptoms entail:

-Feeling exhausted most of the time

-Decreased satisfaction and sense of achievement

-Frequent headaches or muscle pain

-Changes in appetite or sleep habits

-Isolating yourself from family and friends

-Procrastinating essential tasks

On the surface, burnout may seem like regular stress, though there are several key differences which make the two fundamentally different. For example, stress involves over-engagement, urgency and hyperactivity. If chronic, stress often leads to anxiety disorders and a weakened immune system. On the other hand, burnout is characterized by the disengagement which follows a period of continuous stress, during which emotions are blunted; this produces feelings of helplessness and hopelessness which may lead to detachment and depression.

Now, during the Covid-19 Pandemic, the syndrome has become increasingly more common as the online workforce has melted the boundary between work and home. It’s more important now than ever to have strategies readily available to combat Burnout Syndrome.

Here are some strategies you can try from home:

-Reframe your outlook on work: focus on aspects of work that you enjoy, how your role helps others 

-Set boundaries! Learn how to say “no” so that you don’t overextend yourself

-Eat a healthy diet: minimize sugar, refined carbs, and overly processed food

-Exercise regularly! Try to aim for at least 30 minutes per day

If you or someone you know is seeking therapy for Burnout Syndrome, please contact our psychotherapy offices in New York or New Jersey to talk to one of our licensed professional psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, or psychotherapists at Arista Counseling & Psychotherapy. Contact our Paramus, NJ or Manhattan, NY offices respectively, at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920 to set up an appointment. For more information, please visit http://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com/

Source: https://www.verywellmind.com/stress-and-burnout-symptoms-and-causes-3144516

Image Source: https://www.google.com/url?sa=i&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.range.co%2Fblog%2Fhow-to-prevent-workplace-burnout-on-your-team&psig=AOvVaw2MHvFFbkjHJ9HYa6aqG51h&ust=1631384314382000&source=images&cd=vfe&ved=0CAsQjRxqFwoTCND30I2B9fICFQAAAAAdAAAAABAV

Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD): Understanding BPD and how to Appropriately Respond to Provocations as a Loved One

Living with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) not only affects the individual, but those with whom they have formed a relationship. Relationships are present and strong, but experience more turbulence due to key symptoms of BPD such as: intense reactions, self- doubt, extreme idolization or devaluation, fear of abandonment, mood swings, risky behaviors, etc. There is no one “cause” of a personality disorder like BPD, but studies show that patients with BPD come from families of severe pathology leading to their provocative behavior patterns.

People with BPD engage in provocative behaviors like making wild accusations, over- the- top demands, threatening suicide, etc., all with the intention of being invalidated by their counterparts as they have been their whole life. They feel invalidated (which fuels self- doubts) when they evoke one of three reactions from their counterpart: anxious helplessness, anxious guilt, or overt hostility. If these reactions are displayed, their poor behavior is rewarded and will continue, and feelings of self- doubt are reaffirmed.

When someone with BPD makes a wild accusation, resist invalidating them while disagreeing with the accusation. If they say, for example, “I can tell you hate me,” you can reply with, “I’m sorry you feel that way. I wish there was something I could do that would convince you I love you.” Here, you are disagreeing with the accusation while validating their feelings, and not showing one of the craved reactions. Their poor behaviors are thus not rewarded and feelings of self- doubt are not reaffirmed. Further, simply listen and be attentive. People with BPD most likely grew up being invalidated so they want to feel cared about. When talking to someone with BPD, incorporate the counseling technique “reflection of feelings”. This is defined by interpreting one’s feelings based on their verbal and nonverbal cues. When you’re able to interpret someone’s feelings, it demonstrates that you are paying attention and care, which is of utmost importance to someone with BPD.

If you or someone you know is seeking therapy for a codependent relationship, please contact our psychotherapy offices in New York or New Jersey to talk to one of our licensed professional psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, or psychotherapists at Arista Counseling & Psychotherapy. Contact our Paramus, NJ or Manhattan, NY offices respectively, at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920 to set up an appointment. For more information, please visit http://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com/

Sources:

https://www.nami.org/Personal-Stories/What-Is-BPD

https://www.psycom.net/personality-disorders/bpd-and-relationships/

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/matter-personality/201401/responding-borderline-provocations-part-iii

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/matter-personality/201403/responding-borderline-provocations-part-iv

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/matter-personality/201403/responding-borderline-provocations-part-v

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/matter-personality/201405/responding-borderline-provocations-part-vi

Addiction: Recognizing and Coping with a Loved One’s Opioid Addiction

By: Lydia Gallagher

Opioids are a class of drug that can either come as legal prescription drugs, such as oxycodone, morphine, codeine, and others, or illegal street drugs, like heroin. Misuse of prescription painkillers often leads to addiction, after to the cheaper and more available option of heroin. Opioid addiction, formally known as Opioid Use Disorder, is a heartbreaking disease that causes turmoil to the life of the addict and their loved ones. Recognizing the signs of an opioid addiction is an important step on the road to recovery and rehabilitation.

The common symptoms of opioid addiction are as follows:

  • Weight loss
  • Drowsiness
  • Cravings for opioids
  • Isolation
  • Frequent flu-like symptoms
  • Stealing from family or friends
  • Slurred speech

Addiction is hard to fight alone, and many people need their loved ones to help them. Addiction never discriminates and anyone can fall victim to it. Opioid Addiction doesn’t just hurt the one who is addicted. Family and friends can find it emotionally draining and upsetting to see their loved one suffer from this damaging disease. If you have a loved one suffering from opioid addiction, it is important to be there for them and encourage them to get help. It is also vital to take care of yourself and seek therapy to help you become less distressed.

If you or someone you know is seeking therapy for an opioid addiction, please contact our psychotherapy offices in New York or New Jersey to talk to one of our licensed professional psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, or psychotherapists at Arista Counseling & Psychotherapy. Contact our Paramus, NJ or Manhattan, NY offices respectively, at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920 to set up an appointment. For more information, please visit http://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com/

Sources:

https://www.drugabuse.gov/drug-topics/opioids

https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/step-by-step-guides-to-finding-treatment-drug-use-disorders/if-your-adult-friend-or-loved-one-has-problem-drugs/how-to-recognize-substance

https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/opioids/science-of-addiction.html